New Epson EcoTank Inkjets Said to Print up to Two Years Without Needing Ink Replacement

new york eco tank
Epson America is bringing color inkjet All-in-Ones with refillable ink reservoirs (and one model with replaceable ink packs) to North America, saying it will be transforming the inkjet printer/All-in-One category with its new EcoTank All-in-Ones announced today, which it says can print up to two years without users having to replace ink.

The firm announced five new color inkjet All-in-Ones, which will ship next month and are geared for home to small-business users, under the new EcoTank brand today, calling them “supertank” inkjets that come loaded and ready for up to two years of prints without replacing the ink – based on average monthly print volumes of about 150 pages for the ET-2500, ET-2550, and ET-4500; 300 pages for the ET-4550; and 800 pages for the WF-R4640.

Epson also says that the ink it’s included with the new EcoTank All-in-Ones is equivalent to about 20 sets of ink cartridges or more, depending on the model.

Citing the higher cost of inkjet color printing, Keith Kratzberg, executive vice president at Epson America, says the new All-in-Ones will enable more customers to print in color: “The introduction of EcoTank marks a fundamental shift in the way we think about using color in business and in the home. Epson EcoTank sets a new standard for color printing, convenience and value. We believe that our new EcoTank printers are well-positioned to take a large bite out of the small-business printer market.”

When replacement ink is needed, Espon says the cost will be as low as $12.99 per ink bottle, or $52 per set of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink bottles. For example, it says, a standard home printer requires approximately 20 sets of cartridges to print the same number of pages included with the equivalent EcoTank printer.

The new EcoTank All-in-Ones use Epson’s MicroPiezo ink-jet print head technology and four ink reservoirs for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks, to create what Epson calls “an entirely new printing system.” The All-in-Ones have two-year warranties, as well as wireless connectivity for connectivity with tablets and smartphones across various operating systems.

Seiko Epson Japan President Minori Usui

Seiko Epson President Minori Usui introduced the new EcoTank refillable inkjet All-in-Ones at an event held in New York City on August 4th attended by Wirth Consulting. Usui explained that, with its inkjet printers and All-in-Ones, Epson is seeking to get away from the “razors-and-blades” business model – under which, while the initial purchase price is inexpensive, the supplies – whether they be blades or ink – are not.

refilling ecotank

Refilling an Epson EcoTank inkjet All-in-One with a magenta ink bottle.

WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 EcoTank All-in-One

new ecotank 4640

The flagship WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 EcoTank All-in-One with four cyan, magenta, yellow, and black replaceable ink packs (RIPS) that are also installed by lowering covers on the sides of the All-in-One–black on the left and CYM on the right.

The flagship WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 EcoTank All-in-One ($1,199 MSRP) with print, copy, scan, and fax, is designed for small business, with an in-box ink yield of up to 20,000 black pages and 20,000 color pages (based on the based on ISO/IEC 24711 test standard) with ISO-rated print speeds of up to 20 (black)/20 (color) ppm. It features a 580-sheet paper capacity (via two 250-sheet trays, plus 80-sheet rear feeder), automatic two-sided print, copy, scan, and fax,  as well as 4.3″ color touch screen, and 35-sheet automatic document feeder.

As shown in the photo above, the WF-4640 uses four EcoTank cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink packs (not ink bottles). Each standard-yield R12 ink pack is rated to yield up to 10,000 pages, while each high-yield R12X ink pack is rated to yield up to 20,000 pages. Pricing for ink packs is not yet available.

ink bags

Color scan is to PC via Document Capture Pro software, as well as to cloud, email, corporate email, network folder, and USB memory drives. Users may also create password-protected PDFs.

The WF-R4640 features a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port, Wireless Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) connectivity, wired Ethernet, and Wi-Fi Direct connectivity, as well as Epson Connect (for Epson Email Print, Epson iPrint Mobile App, and Epson Remote Print). There’s also mobile printing for Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Kindle Fire, and Mopria.

Complete specifications are available here.

WorkForce ET-4550 EcoTank All-in-One

The WorkForce ET-4550 EcoTank All-in-One ($499 MSRP), with print, copy, scan, and fax, is designed for home offices, with an in-box ink yield of up to 11,000 black pages and 8,500 color pages (based on the based on ISO/IEC 24711 test standard), and ISO print speeds of up to 13 (black)/7.3 (color) ppm. The ET-4550 features a 2.2″ LCD, automatic two-sided printing, 30-page automatic document feeder, and a 150-sheet paper capacity. There’s also Epson Connect for mobile printing, as well as 30-sheet automatic document feeder, and scan to PC, email, PDF, and Cloud.  Connectivity is via Hi-Speed USB 2.0, Wireless LAN (802.11 b/g/n), wired Ethernet, and Wi-Fi Direct.

The ET-4550 uses ink bottles, with the black ink bottle yielding up to 4,000 pages, and each cyan, yellow and magenta ink bottle yielding up to 6,500 pages, with each bottle priced at $12.99 – that translates into a cost per page of 0.3 cents for black, and 0.87 cents for color.

Complete specifications are available here.

WorkForce ET-4500 EcoTank All-in-One

The WorkForce ET-4500 EcoTank All-in-One ($429 MSRP), with print, copy, scan, and fax, is also for home offices, with an in-box ink yield of up to 4,000 black pages and 6,500 color pages (based on the based on ISO/IEC 24711 test standard) and ISO print speeds of up to 9.2 (black)/4.5 (color) ppm. The ET-4500 features a 30-page automatic document feeder, 100-sheet paper capacity, and a 2.2″ LCD. It also includes built-in Wi-Fi Direct, and Epson Connect. Connectivity is via Hi-Speed USB 2.0, Wireless LAN (802.11 b/g/n), wired Ethernet, and Wi-Fi Direct.

The WorkForce ET-4500 uses the same ink bottles as the WorkForce ET-4550 above.

Complete specifications are available here.

Expression ET-2550 EcoTank All-in-One

The Expression ET-2550 EcoTank All-in-One ($399 MSRP) with print, copy, and scan, is for home users, with an in-box ink yield of up to 4,000 black pages and 6,500 color pages (based on the based on ISO/IEC 24711 test standard) and print speeds of up to 9.2 (black)/4.5 (color) ppm. The ET-2550 features a 1.44″ color LCD, PC-free photo printing with a built-in memory card slot, and 100-sheet paper capacity. It also includes built-in Wi-Fi Direct, and Epson Connect. There is no automatic document feeder (copy and scan is via flatbed platen).

The Expression ET-2550 uses the same ink bottles as the WorkForce ET-4550 above.

Complete specifications are available here.

Expression ET-2500 EcoTank All-in-One

The Expression ET-2500 EcoTank All-in-One ($379 MSRP) with print, copy, and scan, and wireless connectivity, is for home users, and has an in-box ink yield of up to 4,000 black pages and 6,500 color pages (based on the based on ISO/IEC 24711 test standard) and ISO print speeds of up to 9.2 (black)/4.5 (color) ppm. The ET-2500 features one-touch copying and a 100-sheet paper capacity; there is no automatic document feeder (copy and scan is via flatbed platen).

The Expression ET-2500 uses the same ink bottles as the WorkForce ET-4550 above.

Complete specifications are available here.

Availability

The Epson EcoTank All-in-Ones will be available in September 2015 through major computer, office, and electronic superstores, and mail order, including Staples, Best Buy, Office Depot, Amazon, Microcenter, Costco.com, Samsclub.com, Target.com, Walmart.com, and the www.epsonstore.com.

For more information, visit epson.com/ecotank.

Our Take

One of the long-standing complaints among inkjet users is the cost of ink. Epson has taken a huge step forward addressing this with its new “supertank” EcoTank inkjet All-in-Ones, which substantially lower the cost of ink. (And along with that, make third-party inks less attractive to customers, protecting Epson’s ink-supply revenue stream).

Along with this super-low cost of ink, however, Epson is asking customers to pay substantially more upfront for these inkjet All-in-Ones compared to competitive inkjets. For instance, the home-use Expression ET-2500 EcoTank All-in-One has an MSRP of a substantial $379, which is significantly more than others in this segment, while the business-oriented WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 has a substantial MSRP of $1,199. And, while the flagship business-oriented WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 features fairly easily replaceable ink packs, all other models use ink bottles – and pouring ink into reservoirs may not be as easy and clean as some users might expect. However, we observed that compared to other Epson inkjets with refillable ink tanks (an “L” series not available in North America) that we have tested, we observed at Epson’s product launch that refilling ink tanks seems to be much easier. With the L series, the user has to un-hook the ink tank, and lay it on its side, and the fill holes where ink is poured in are small. In contrast, with the new EcoTank All-in-Ones, the user just has to flip up a lid, and the fill holes are much easier to access, and are much larger – a huge improvement for filling ink reservoirs more easily.

Overall, the new EcoTank models should greatly appeal to many home and small-office users who have long complained about ink costs. What will be key for Epson is convincing users that paying more upfront will save them substantially more in the long run in ink costs.

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